The end of 2010 featured the Department of Commerce citing the need for a Privacy Bill of Rights in its green paper and the FTC's preliminary online privacy report discussing the need for a Do Not Track mechanism. The momentum generated by these reports led to the introduction of multiple versions of Do Not Track and comprehensive privacy rights bills in early 2011. By mid-2011, at least five different data security and breach notification proposals were circulating in the wake of high profile data breaches. Reports about location based tracking led to the introduction of geolocation privacy and surveillance bills. Proposed amendments to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and Video Privacy Protection Act were also made. And by the end of 2011, several cybersecurity bills designed to protect critical infrastructure had been introduced. Even though Congress held hearings on privacy issues, subcommittees approved several bills, and there was support from the Obama administration for comprehensive privacy legislation, as many expected, however, none of these bills were enacted when the first session of the 112th Congress adjourned December 18.
The safe prediction for 2012 is more of the same--a lot of proposals but no consensus. It is certainly possible that another high profile data breach or cyberattack against a utility or government contractor could create enough urgency to force a consensus. However, numerous high profile breaches (Epsilon, Sony, Citi, RSA, Lockheed Martin and several health care providers), hactivist attacks against government security contractors (IRC Federal and HBGary), and reports about how the "weaponized" Stuxnet virus caused centrifuges in an Iranian nuclear facility to spin wildly out of control were not enough in 2011. We certainly expect to see data breach notification, comprehensive privacy, and cybersecurity bills addressed again in 2012. We may also see narrower bills aimed at online and location based tracking as well as Children's privacy. Emerging technology, including mobile payments and facial recognition, may also garner legislative attention.
Below is a round-up of the 2011 privacy and data security legislative proposals, including links to more detailed analysis from our blog posts during the year.… Continue Reading
Similar to the bill introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier in February 2011, Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced the Do-Not-Track Online Act of 2011 on May 9, 2011. Sen. Rockefeller announced that the bill would offer a “simple, straightforward way for people to stop companies from tracking their movements online.” The FTC would be given one … Continue Reading